Meet The Boy. Here you see him in his natural habitat, the kitchen. Why the kitchen? Because the kitchen, dear readers, is where I need the most help (really, just ask TMB!) When I went back to school back in 2009, TMB told me that I needed to enlist the help of the kiddos because as he put it bluntly, "You can't do it by yourself." He was right, of course (but notice how he didn't put himself into the equation?*) I can't do it all. Well, I could if I wanted to be a big pile of mess with absolutely no time for myself or anything *fun*. So, anyway, that is how The Boy got into the kitchen.
This picture was taken the day he got back from week-long boyscout summer camp. (What you don't see is the subsequent eye roll and the comment, "Why did you just take a picture of me?"). A valid question. Why would I take a picture of The Boy doing his nightly kitchen clean up? After all, he's being doing it for the past two years; what makes tonight any different?
Could it be because I had not seen my oldest in a week? Could it be that while he was gone, I had to do kitchen clean up, every night? Could it be because after a week working with wood, leather and water, he had a tan that I could only dream of?
Yes, to all of the above, but the biggest reason I took a picture of The Boy is because what I've been trying to ignore for the past year is staring me right in the face: The Boy is turning into The Man Beast Jr (or The Man Beast-in-Training). I mean, look at him! Is this really a 13 year old? (No, actually, it isn't. This is a picture of a 13 and a half year old.)
This "boy" is now taller than me. He wears bigger shoes than me. When people hear him in the background on the phone, they swear that it is TMB. Where did the little boy go?
What they don't tell you in the magazines and Parenting 101 classes is that this reality just sneaks up on you and slaps you upside the head with a 2x4. While logically, I know this doesn't happen over night, emotionally, it does.
TMBIT (The Man Beast in Training) will be entering 8th grade next year. In two years, he'll be in high school. In three years, he'll be driving. In five years, he'll be graduating from high school (and voting!). Five years is all I have left? Really?
I feel cheated. As frustrating as the MB/MBIT relationship is currently (and believe me, it is frustrating), this is when life is starting to get good. The kids, both kids, are older and subsequently more interactive. They have opinions and they like to share them. They like to talk about adult issues (current politics and what is fair) and kid issues (what video game are we buying next?) They are just more fun now that they can do for themselves. TMBIT is learning how to cook, as is Baby Gurl. I'm slowing bringing her into the kitchen to help her brother clean up. I have them both sweeping, mopping, dusting and vacuuming. TMBIT is doing his own laundry, start to finish; Baby Gurl is folding hers and putting it away. (I promise I do keep house; it is just important that both the kiddos learn to do things for themselves so that when they leave my nest, they'll know how to get it done.)
This is me reaping the rewards of all those sleepless nights, poopy diapers, struggles in math and elementary school with The Boy. I know I have a long way to go and I know I'm no where near done, but I feel like things are just getting good. (I already said that, didn't I? Well, they are!) I know there are struggles around the bend (but I don't want to think about them right now; no sense in borrowing trouble).
But really...how did I go from this:
* Note to my readers, while TMB does not voluntarily sign up for inside duty, he does work the yard and he did help me do dishes the week TMBIT was away at camp. Make no mistake about it, TMB is a keeper.
Until next time...